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Drought Makes It Tough On Those Who Make Their Living Off The Land

By Rick Sallinger

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    LAFAYETTE, Colorado (KCNC) — The dry, windy and warm conditions are being called an “extreme drought” in Colorado. It’s been difficult for those who make their living off the land.

It is a most unwelcome combination for farmers: dust and wind. The conditions at the Three Leaf Farm in Lafayette are being felt all around eastern Colorado.

“Underneath my fabric is broccoli, lettuce and cabbages,” said Jax Martinelli.

Martinelli is a farm manager. The cloth is to protect his crop, but the wind has been tearing it apart.

The lack of water has made irrigation more frequent and costly. There’s less for the cattle to eat. It’s also made hay more expensive. That’s to feed the horses.

Jessi Leonard, the barn manager says, “The wind has been a big factor so normally all summer long our horses will wear fly masks to protect them from flies going into their eyes and they’ve been wearing them all spring because of the wind blowing into their faces.”

The wind has blown away seed and topsoil. It may not yet resemble the dust bowls of the 30s, but it’s not good.

Martinelli finds it hard to recall a spring like this.

“In the last five years that I have worked here it has rained consistently during March and April and I haven’t seen a drop of rain since mainly January,” said Martinelli.

What they grow here on this farm goes directly to their restaurants’ tables. They don’t want to have to cut back on what they can grow.

Martinelli has a wish, “I hope that it rains soon.”

The food they grow on this farm goes directly to their restaurants, The Dushanbe Tea House and Chautauqua Dining Hall and Leaf Vegetarian restaurant in Boulder; The Huckleberry, Zucca Italian Ristorante and Boulder Tea Company and Three Leaf Catering in Louisville. There is also a restaurant at the Three Leaf Farm in Lafayette.

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